After holding talks with United States president Joe Biden, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the first in-person Quad Leaders' Summit along with Japan's Yoshihide Suga and Australia's Scott Morrison.
The Quad, officially the 'Quadrilateral Security Dialogue', is a strategic forum between four nations, India, Australia, Japan and the United States, for exchanging strategic intelligence and conducting joint military exercises.
Speaking first at the summit, as the host, President Biden said: "This is a group meeting of democratic partners... who are taking on challenges of COVID-19 and climate."
United States: President Joe Biden
Biden added, "Our vaccine initiative is going well... India is producing over billion doses. We are four major democracies with long histories."
"We know how to get things done and are up to the challenge," he said.
Biden also announced a new fellowship for the students of the member countries to pursue advanced degrees in "stem programs" in the United States.
Just two days ago, President Biden had said that the Quad partnership was on track to produce at least a billion vaccine doses in India by 2022.
"We're working with partner nations, pharmaceutical companies, and other manufacturers to increase their own capacity and capability to produce and manufacture safe and highly effective vaccines in their own countries," Biden had said, adding, "For example, our Quad partnership with India, Japan, and Australia is on track to help produce at least 1 billion vaccine doses in India to boost the global supply by the end of 2022. And we're providing financing and helping strengthen manufacturing in South Africa, and produce more than 500 million doses of J&J in Africa for Africa next year."
India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi first thanked President Joe Biden for the first in-person meeting of the Quad summit. The prime minister said: "We came together during the 2004 tsunami, now during COVID-19 as Quad. I am looking forward to discussing COVID-19 and other matters."
Modi said that he was also confident that participation in Quad would establish peace and prosperity in the world. He outlined how the Quad initiative would help Indo-Pacific nations and would be a "force for global good".
- ANI (@ANI) September 24, 2021
"Quad decided to go ahead with a positive approach on basis of our shared democratic values. I'd be happy to discuss with my friends -- be it supply chain, global security, climate action, COVID-19 response or tech cooperation," the prime minister told the meet.
Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said at the Quad meeting that the grouping demonstrates how democracy gets things done. "We have already accomplished so much. We do not just have the vaccine doses but we are delivering and administering them," he said.
He further stated that Canberra believed in "a free and open Indo-pacific because we know that is what delivers a strong and prosperous region".
Morrison said that the Indo-Pacific region should be free from coercion and disputes should be solved in accordance with international law.
"The Indo-Pacific has great challenges and challenges have to be overcome. In six months from the last meeting so much has been accomplished. We stand here together in the Info Pacific region," he said.
Japan: Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga
In his remarks, Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga said that the Quad collective showed the relations that the four countries shared and its commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
We have come here for the first in-person Quad Leaders' Summit. This Summit shows the relations shared by our four nations and the commitment we have for a free and open Indo-Pacific region: Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga's opening remarks at Quad Leaders' Summit, at the White House pic.twitter.com/SzFHBVSOB6
- ANI (@ANI) September 24, 2021
Highlighting the importance of Quad, Suga said, "Quad is a very important initiative by the four nations that believe in fundamental rights and are of the view that Indo-Pacific should be free and open. Till date, Quad has given its absolute cooperation in big sectors, be it regional challenges or COVID-19."
Suga also thanked the US for lifting a ban, which it had imposed in April, on Japanese food products.
India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military maneuvering in the region.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.
With iInputs from agencies